The F1 world champion recorded the 50th win of his career and his 15th triumph in 2023 at the Circuit of the Americas, backing up his sprint race success from Saturday, but came under huge pressure from Lewis Hamilton late on as the Dutch driver had to manage a brake problem.
Verstappen was heard throughout the race complaining about his brakes over team radio and finished the race dropping time to Hamilton over the closing laps, eventually winning by just 2.225s.
After Red Bull changed his brakes overnight between the sprint race and the grand prix Verstappen was unsure what caused the problem and has asked the team to investigate it.
“We changed the brakes after yesterday and it was not good, I had no good feeling under braking, and I couldn’t really get on top of it for the whole race,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.
“This is something we need to understand because when you are not very confident around here under braking you just don’t have a nice feeling under braking and when you come off it.
“It can cost you quite a bit of lap time so it was a bit more difficult than I expected.
“I’ve never really struggled in braking so far in my F1 career but today it definitely was a problem.”
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, on the podium with his trophy
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner explained that Verstappen’s pace was compromised by the brake issue as it impacted his tyre temperatures but he wasn’t sure how much time it cost the Dutch driver.
“As soon as you start managing that issue, it interferes with your tyre temperatures and everything else. So I thought he did a very good job to do that,” Horner said.
“Difficult to predict what it cost in pace, but you could see he didn’t enjoy the same advantage of pace, if you like that he had yesterday.
“I think it was [an issue] throughout the race. It was from very early in the first [stint]. He just wasn’t getting the same feeling from the brake pedal that he had previously, and certainly you could see Checo’s pace was strong again today.
“And all the deficits [compared to team-mate Sergio Perez] as you heard GP [Gianpiero Lambiase, Verstappen’s race engineer] say to him were in the braking zone, so for sure there was a bit left on the table today.”
Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble